I’ve been anguishing about this article for the last 4 days. If I wait any longer, it will be moot. So here goes…..damn it.
Warning From Friends
What I’m going to share required some help to get set up. A few close friends were consulted. I mentioned that I planned on laying everything out in the open. They were cautiously supportive. Their concerns centered on how people would perceive what I’ve done. Here are some of their speculations.
People will say, “What a fool. He spent all this money and accomplished nothing.”
Some will turn it around and make a joke out of you.
Nobody’s going to believe this. They’ll use it as confirmation that you’re lying about everything.
Fine. This post might make me look like a dishonest fool, fit for making fun of. But, I’ve risked everything else. You might as well know this, too.
The Gloves are Off
A few months ago I made a post with the title above. I had reached the tipping point of frustration. Stories of hideous damage to our children were flooding in. At the same time, church leaders were completely ignoring me.
You already know that my heart is committed, my time is committed, my reputation is committed, even my church membership is committed. What you didn’t know was that my funds were also committed.
When I decided to take the gloves off, that included launching my money into the mix. I’m 65 years old. My kids are grown and gone. I have accumulated savings for retirement. My retirement funds still need to be bolstered. But, I view this challenge as something worthy of my heart, my soul and my savings.
Here’s what I have poured in.
$100: Magnetic name Tags
$300: Signs for petition drive
$300: Miscellaneous printing
$300: Fast response service for Petition site
$660: Constant Contact. $220/mo. Jan, Feb & Mar
$800: News conf speaker airfare
$2,000: For availability of up to 8 news releases to virtually every applicable news outlet in the country.
$2,000: Expenses related to news conferences in Salt Lake City & Houston
$3,000: Nov-Feb, 5 trips to Utah for speaking, news and podcast events. Airfare, car rental and one hotel stay.
$3,400: Website design and deployment.
$11,000: Expenses to bring 16 members of my family to the march. Wife, kids & grandkids. Airfare, car rental and hotel for 3 days. This is a personal expense. I want my Granchildren to “come to remember this day.” When my oldest daughter described the march to her 3 kids, they asked if it was like what Martin Luther King did. She answered, “Well, kind of.” All three of them spontaneously shot their hands in the air and shouted with joy!!! They love MLK.
$14,400 Facebook advertising. Three weeks leading up the march. The goal is to reach an new audience in order to increase awareness of the March 30th event. So, far it has generated a ton of traffic.
$37,500 PR Firm. Three months at $12,500/mo. Contracted for Feb, Mar & Apr. This is a big expense. During November and December, I was working with a volunteer to reach out to the media. He was super helpful and still is. But, we lacked solid national media contacts. In January, I realized that I was out of my depth in the PR world. This march is a one shot deal. To generate maximum awareness we need significant media coverage, hopefully including national outlets. I decided to turn to experts who can write a press release on a dime and already have established media contacts. I consulted with a very close acquaintance who has years of PR experience from his business pursuits. We talked about costs. He said that you get what you pay for. If we hired someone at $5,000/mo, we’d likely see no results. His experience indicated a range from $10,000 to $15,000/mo. Initially, I slumped at that kind of commitment. My hesitance didn’t last long. How the hell could it with story after story crying with horror from my in-box? We started a search. Our first choice quoted a price tag of $12,500/mo, right in the middle of the range. They have been very helpful so far. Lots of stuff going on behind the scenes regarding national media. There are some encouraging talks. But, we haven’t quite got a bite yet. I’m hoping the march and other local rallies around the country will draw the national outlets to our cause. This is a big reason that it’s important to have as many people at the march as we can muster.
Grand total = $75,760. And I still have a ton of costs ahead with the march!
I hope to have the self-discipline to cap it at $100,000 out of pocket. Will this affect my retirement? Probably. While I’m not a wealthy man, I’ll be just fine. What I have a wealth of is fire in the belly from having read thousands of children’s horror stories.
Why Would A Foolish Man Share all This Crap?
#1 Transparency. I have shared about everything possible along the way.
#2 Many of you have asked if you could contribute financially to our cause. Initially, I was resistant. It could give the impression that I was in this for the money. At this point, I hope that any reasonable person can see that would be a ridiculous conclusion.
#3 From the outset, come hell or highwater, I was willing to completely self-fund. But, if others join in, we can save even more children.
To make a donation, go to our website ProtectLDSChildren.org.
On a laptop, the donation button is in the upper right hand corner.
On a tablet, the button may move to the left side, depending on the size of the device.
On a phone, click the three line menu. The Donate button will be at the bottom of the menu.
All funds will go to a new organization named “Protect The Children Association.” A 501C3 application has been filed. All donations made 27 months before the application is approved by the IRS will be tax deductible. I’m expecting everything donated at this point will fall in that category. BTW, the professional services to get this all set up were graciously provided without charge.
Caveat #1: None of the donated funds will go towards reimbursing my previous expenditures.
Caveat #2: DO NOT feel any obligation to donate. DO NOT feel one whit of regret if you choose not to.
Thank you for traveling this journey at my side in whatever methods you choose.
**We have already made a difference in children’s lives.**